The Supreme Phenomenon


Steven Driest

Anthony Zunno, Steven Kaczmarski, Marco Palimino, Justin Fasset, and Kyle Montgomery Showing off the back print of their Saint Pablo shirts by Kanye West

Steven Driest, Flash Contributor

Materialism in America has been growing since the founding fathers first landed on Plymouth Rock. Throughout history fashion has been a commodity of being rich, and today this still largely stands because if you want to receive the most respect in the streets, you will pay the price.

Right now, the fastest growing fashion trend in America is “streetwear”. Streetwear comes from the west-coast skateboarding scene, and the style is what a classic skateboarder would wear. This includes fitted pants, normally classic vans; screen-printed oversize t-shirts and a baseball or flat bill hat. Streetwear doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can also be one of the most expensive and in many cases, in order to gain the most respect you have to buy the most “supreme” clothing.

Skateboarding isn’t the only sport dominating the fashion game. Basketball is extremely influential in clothing, ever since Michael Jordan teamed up with Spike-Lee to make the iconic Nike commercials for Air Jordan; the sportswear/fashion world has never been the same. Jordan started a cultural phenomenon in 1988 and it has only gotten bigger as Jordan is still regarded the premier brand in both shoes and sportswear.

As a result, the “jumpman” has created its own subculture known as sneakerheads. A sneakerhead is a person who collects limited edition, rare, OG, or flat out exclusive kicks. Usually the collection consists of Jordans or Dunks. There are conventions held across America for sneakerheads or someone with a deep knowledge of shoes, to celebrate their past-time by bonding with other sneakerheads, or they can simply buy the newest Jordans.

Fraser has a very vibrant streetwear/sneakerhead scene as it’s extremely popular within the students in the high school, especially the underclassmen who rock the clothing.

“Supreme” is not just a word to describe the status of something, it’s actually a brand, and it is considered to be the mecca of streetwear. Supreme started as a small company in New York City in 1994 and its intention was for skateboarders, even the floor plan was laid out to leave space in the middle of the store so skateboarders could ride right in. Supreme was brought into the mainstream by artists who embraced the brand, for it had started with its fandom being underground filmmakers, blunt-puffing rebellious skateboarders, graffiti artists, and rappers.

Competing streetwear brands such as, Billionaire Boys Club, Anti -Social Social Club, Bape, Polo Ralph Lauren, and others shadow supreme. Nevertheless, Supreme is considered to be the best because they are defining a streetwear brand. Outside of Nike and Jordan, it’s a brand that’s almost single-handedly created and fostered the online market that’s so pervasive today. Season after season they make sellout collections, each with new concepts and ideas. However, the main reason Supreme is the most sought after, is its limitedness. They never ever make the same thing twice and when they do make it, they only make a certain amount.

Why someone would own a $1.2K pair of shoes (see photo gallery below).

Marco Palimino, Anthony Zunno, Justin Fasset, and Kyle Montgomery; whom are all streetwear enthusiasts/Hypebeasts.

“I wasn’t into it at first, but then I went to NewYork to buy some stuff at Sneaker-con. I bought a pair of shoes and a bunch of clothes and I sold them all last week. This is what got me into it, realizing I could make legit money off of it” Palimino said.

“It started in 8th grade with shoes, then it turned into streetwear” Zunno said.

They both got into the trade with the interest of re-selling whatever they’d buy so they could make money off of it. This is when the prices come into play. A t-shirt in the store might only cost $50, but the buyer can flip it for up to $500. The buying and reselling is one of the main attractions of this subculture, as some people are professional dealers and make a living off of it.

“I bought a pair of Supreme Jordans for $250 and then I sold them for $230 after getting a lot of use out of them. My friend owns a $1.2K pair of yeezys” Palimino said.

“My Yeezys which I bought for $500,” Zunno said.

“A $150 Supreme hoodie,” Fasset said.

“A $325 Calvin Klein jacket,” Montgomery said.

It’s obvious that people do not understand why one would want to spend so much on clothing.

What does it mean to be a hypebeast one might ask?

“To follow the hype,” Zunno said.

“To wear stuff that is hyped up. I’m a huge hypebeast,” Montgomery said.

Being a hypebeast doesn’t mean you only wear sport exclusive brands. In fact, some of the biggest brands on the market aren’t related to sports at all. Hip/hop culture has influenced streetwear in unprecedented ways given that some of the biggest names in the game have their own brands. Kanye West’s Yeezys have hit the streets running being the most sought after sneaker on the market along with his Pablo clothing line. Singer/songwriter Pharrell, also has his own shoes called Human Races. These are some of the biggest names out right now and also the most expensive.

All of those who were streetwear such as “Supreme” might not be rebellious skateboarders or hypebeasts, there is a lot to be said about sports influence on culture as almost all the top brands were created around a sport. Skateboarding and basketball have created the biggest trends in the clothing industry with today’s youth. One might not understand why people are paying these ridiculous prices for clothes when all they have on them is a box logo, but one cannot avoid the culture that is influencing it, for it is the quest of hypebeasts to be the most supreme.